Harper headed for majority unless........and if you answer Liberals, forget it

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Harper headed for majority unless........and if you answer Liberals, forget it



Canadian voters need to wake up and smell the roses of a Harper majority unless they change the Liberal channel.  

No there, there

"There's no there, there," Ignatieff complained -- and, while he wasn't describing his own speech, he could have been. As usual, it offered only vague promises of a better, brighter Liberal future, details to come. As with the budget, Liberals now offer token resistance, but quickly fall into line. The tactic is already getting tired and could prove as fatal to their fortunes as provoking an unwanted election.

The next deadline for the long-promised policy "reveal" comes sometime after the party's thinkers conference in Montreal at the end of March. But the only real suspense is what new excuse Liberals' will come up with for keeping their ground-breaking agenda under wraps until the eve of the next election.

This is assumed to be smart strategy -- the story being that Liberals are bursting with great ideas, but don't want them stolen. But it looks more like confusion. This is especially true when ideas like high speed rail, or an east-west electricity grid, or national child care, are raised by the leader one day then rarely mentioned.

Ignatieff is hobbled by inexperience, but also by his centre-right instincts. On a range of issues, he seems to agree with government -- on the seal hunt, the oilsands, the harmonized sales tax, to name a few.

He is also compromised by his party's record -- particularly on the environment and the deficit. "We cleaned it (the deficit) up last time, we'll clean it up next time," he declared on Thursday. Heaven help us. This might not be a winning argument, considering that Paul Martin restored the country to surplus by cutting transfers to the provinces, damaging health care so badly it has yet to fully recover.

To an unfocused official opposition, add a demoralized and ignored public service and a risk-averse prime minister with a minimalist agenda, largely focussed on winding down his prosaic stimulus program then chipping away at the deficit.

It adds up to continuing policy drift with no fresh ideas, no sense of urgency, nothing to inspire pride in country the way the Olympics did. Everyone talks with animation about the New Economy, green technologies, the potential of India and China, an innovation agenda -- then goes chasing the latest $1,000 doorbell scandal or ministerial temper tantrum.

A noble exception is the NDP, which continues to offer detailed, practical remedies to pressing problems: more gas tax to municipalities for green infrastructure, an extension of the home reno program for energy retrofits, enhanced public pensions.

Layton opened question period on Thursday with questions on Harper plans to open telecommunications to foreign ownership. By contrast, Ignatieff led with yet another question on detainees -- an indirect reminder that he has no urgent quarrel with the Harper economic agenda.

Unfortunately for Layton, his party (politics, generally) is mired in outdated ideological stereotypes. No matter how huge their deficits, how faulty their predictions, Conservatives are somehow the party of fiscal rectitude. No matter how savage their cuts to social programs, how huge their income tax cuts, the Liberals are slave to big spending and Big Government. And, despite the frugality and policy innovation of countless provincial NDP governments, "socialists" are dismissed as unsound.

Ideology aside, we have been led, for decades, by a succession of dull, cautious, uninspiring, almost interchangeable, governments, Liberal and Conservative. They have been inching us to the right -- nervous about new social programs, eager to hand generous tax cuts to business and the middle class, ready to shop our economic treasures to any passing stranger.

And, again, we're facing a familiar choice: a centre-right leader who seems to know where he's going (even if he doesn't) and another who is fierce but directionless. In fact, if nothing changes, Harper looks set to climb to his cherished majority over Ignatieff's unconvincing protests.




What I found really significant about that column is that Susan Riley finally seems to have turned the corner on her visceral hatred of Jack Layton and the NDP (which seemed to coincide with her infatuation for Elizabeth May and the Greens).  This is the kindest column we've had from her in a long long time.  I guess I could try and speculate as to what happened to change things, but in any event it's welcome, because Jack and the party did deserve the comments she made above, and it's just nice to be recognized for what they do right, once in a blue moon.


Don't worry, Susan blows hot and cold. Her love affair with the NDP will be short-lived, and it is only because she feels the Liberals are useless and hopeless.


A Harper majority in the next election, whenever it is held, is an utterly absurd and laughable notion northreport.  Parties that win majorities usually aren't mired at 30% and less than one-third national support for months on end.


I would love to live in some make believe world where Canada was becoming a more progressive society, not involved in growing the gap between the rich and the poor, not involved in warmongering, where access to education was getting more accessible, and where we were doing out bit to fight global warming on the planet. I really would. Unfortunately that is not Canadian reality, and we are moving further and further away from it with each passing day. Basically we're fucked.


Core support keeps the PM in thrall



What is this mythical base, and why does it have the Prime Minister in thrall? Some people - especially those on the left - think of it as a fringe of angry, radical, rural conservatives.

In fact, the base could be better described as people who believe strongly in things that most of us increasingly believe as well.

Most Canadians - a whopping 65 per cent, in fact - put themselves in the centre of the political spectrum, according to a poll conducted by Allan Gregg of Harris/Decima and professor André Turcotte of Carleton University for the Manning Centre, a conservative think-tank.

But the political centre is more conservative than some might think. For example, 53 per cent of Canadians believe the government is doing "just enough" to fight global warming. (The Conservatives, as opposition politicians like to point out, are doing virtually nothing to fight global warming.) Only 33 per cent think the Tories are doing too little.

And while 31 per cent strongly agreed with the statement: "Government action is the best way to solve economic problems," 36 per cent counted on the "private sector before government to solve economic problems."

Mr. Turcotte points out that, as recently as 1997, centrist voters were more likely to vote Liberal. Today, according to the poll, they're more likely to vote Conservative.

"The Liberals used to own the political centre," he said in an interview. "But today, it's the Conservatives who own the centre."

It should be noted that, while both Mr. Turcotte and Mr. Gregg are respected pollsters, both also have ties to the conservative movement.

While centrist conservatives are more prominent in Alberta - 72 per cent of Albertans said they were strongly opposed to changing the words to O Canada , a number "that's just unheard of," according to Mario Canseco, vice-president of public affairs at Angus Reid - they can also be found in all parts of the country.

They are, generally speaking, older, with an income below $100,000 and less rather than more education. Mr. Canseco puts their numbers at between 40 and 45 per cent of the population.

But they are not necessarily rural and white. They can be urban and ethnic, too. New arrivals to Canada tend to be socially and fiscally conservative, and are no longer wedded to the Liberal Party, as in previous decades.



The state of the economy is what will make voters decide whether or not to hand Harper his perhaps not quite so elusive majority.   



As unemployment rate drops, Tory MPs crow



Canadian values shifting to the right, poll suggests
Conservatives now 'own the centre,' while the left 'is a very lonely place to be' in Canada, pollster says


The Canadian political "centre" is shifting to the right, a new national poll suggests.

A Harris-Decima survey for the Manning Centre, says Canadians who identify themselves as in the centre of the political ideological scale are increasingly embracing traditionally "conservative" values.

Those include the "supremacy of the family," an incremental approach to resolving problems, the definition of marriage and that abortion is "morally wrong."

Pollsters Allan Gregg and Andre Turcotte said that most believe governments should play a minor role or no role in the regulation of individual behaviour and morality.

As for conservative government policies, the poll suggested a majority of Canadians supported spending deficits, abolishing the long gun registry, action on climate change, the decision to leave Afghanistan in 2011, and management of the economic recession.

Gregg said there is an "ambivalence" among Canadians toward more notionally conservative views about the role of government in society.

A majority of Canadians still "cling to the idea that government has a role in managing the economy."

However they are losing confidence in its ability to follow through in any meaningful way, showing more confidence in individual initiative and the private sector.

"They are not overwhelmingly Conservative but it is shifting in that direction-that the private sector should be given a crack at solving issues and problems before we turn to the government," said Turcotte.

In reality, few identify outright as on the left.

"The left is a very lonely place to be right now in Canada," said Turcotte.

But the pollster said it would be a mistake to believe the centre is a mushy-middle.

"There are a lot of commonalities but also a number of very important differences, and in some ways it's really about the conservatives - small 'c' conservatives-about how they use government to solve problems," Turcotte said.

Turcotte said Canadians don't want an absolute minimalist approach to government. "The minute you go down that path, then the centrists get their back up and reject it," he said.

"It's hard for partisans or believers to come to grips with the messiness" of Canadian political thought, said Gregg. "This ambivalence is not rooted in stupidity, it's rooted in the Canadian conscience."


The pollsters concluded that the Conservatives "currently own the political centre," said Turcotte.

He said it is a "surprising shift" from five elections ago, when 41 per cent of self-described centrists voted Liberal. In 2008, 47 per cent of centrists voted Conservative.

Another shift is anticipated when younger Canadians who want "even less of government" grow older, said Turcotte.



What really gets me is that if Jean Chretien hadn't been one of the most corrupt P.M.'s in history and the sponsorship scandal had never happened, Canada would have been spared the horror that is Stephen Harper.

I think that the sponsorship scandal is one of the defining moments and turning points in all Canadian political history.

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

dp, sorry, fucking babble.

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

Dude, North Report, you're going to give weight to a Manning House survey???

remind remind's picture

.... getting really sick of northernreports posting things outside of quotes. It is quite evident that it is  not wanting to bother and thinking he is above the rules, as when called upon it prior, he  uses the quote function for a short period, and then stops again.


and in respect to the thread, the title is nonsensical at this point.

Lou Arab Lou Arab's picture

ottawaobserver wrote:

What I found really significant about that column is that Susan Riley finally seems to have turned the corner on her visceral hatred of Jack Layton and the NDP (which seemed to coincide with her infatuation for Elizabeth May and the Greens).

I agree, having read Susan's columns (they are often printed in the Edmonton Journal) and hearing her on the radio commenting on national affairs.

Having been subjected to her ill disguised sneering toward the NDP and her championing of the Liberals.  It's been fun watching her support for the Liberals wain over the last few years.  It was clearly hard for her to defend Dion and now Iggy.  I have to give her credit for coming around.


RevolutionPlease wrote:

Dude, North Report, you're going to give weight to a Manning House survey???

Agreed, that Manning Centre/Decima-Harris poll is bogus. According to the survey, 65% identify as centrists-47% of whom support the Conservatives. So you've got 31% or 32% of the total right there. Plus 21% of the total identify themselves as on the right. So either over 50% of Canadians support the Conservatives (a Decima-Harris poll of a few days ago had them at 33%), or less than 10% of those on the right support the Conservatives. The numbers don't add up.


All that poll tells me is that if you are the governing party and won an election in Canada - you are ipso-facto the party that most people who consider themselves "centrist" voted for because since about 80% of people consider themselves centrist its a self-fulfilling prophecy that if you win you got centrsists to support you. Guess what? I'll bet than in the last Manitoba and NS election most people who called themselves "centrist" voted NDP!


Now is the time to be organizing for the next election, but the Liberals are nowhere to be found. But don't you worry folks, at election time, they will be there to slay the dragon. Sure they will.  Tongue out

Parties prepare to battle for Immigrant votes

But the NDP says its main opposition on the ground comes from the Tories. The Conservatives say the same thing about the NDP. Both parties contend they don't feel much heat from the Liberals.



NorthReport wrote:

Parties prepare to battle for Immigrant votes

But the NDP says its main opposition on the ground comes from the Tories. The Conservatives say the same thing about the NDP. Both parties contend they don't feel much heat from the Liberals.

Very interesting.

Thanks, NorthReport.


Your welcome Frmrsldr.

The current Liberals, a shell of what they used to be, are resting on their entitlements as Canada's natural governing party.



Yes, I've noticed that.

Let's hope that the Cons seeing the NDP as their main opposition on the ground and visa versa translates into the majority of Canadians seeing this and right Liberals (who may have voted Con in the last two elections) and left Liberals (who may have voted Liberal in the last two elections) also see this and are attracted to and vote for the NDP in the next federal election(!)Smile